According to Madonna, to age is a sin. When those words were uttered, she was speaking about the entertainment industry, but that premise is everywhere: from politics to fashion, film and newspapers, there’s no greater crime a woman can commit than not being eternally young. Ageing is now considered a dirty word – at least, if you’re a woman in Hollywood it’s viewed this way. The ripple effect has long been apparent; Meryl Steep (for example) gets reduced to playing a scraggly old witch a la In The Woods and last year Maggie Gyllenhaal was pronounced far too old (at 37) to play the partner of a man over 50 whereas the men in the industry are openly praised for getting a new lease of life (and usually a career revival); salt n’ pepper George Clooney, Matt Damon and Ben Affleck have never been in greater demand.
Many things can work against you in the industry such as being a feminist or simply being a woman, but it’s your age that deduces another level of fear. To that end, we need public figures, prominent women, stepping forward and calling BS on the tale as old as time that men are in their prime when they reach a certain age and women are over the hill. Because we see it everywhere; the sexist media coverage that reduces a woman based on her age and not her life’s accomplishments. Which is why it’s a breath of fresh to see accomplished, award-winning actress Julianne Moore take such a positive stance on the topic of ageing.
The 56-year-old actress recently sat down with InStyle and confessed that she has no plans to turn back the clock when it comes to outward appearance; her focus now is simply embracing who she is.
“I mean, let’s not talk about this idea of ‘Oh, no! I’m going to be 40!’ You could be dead,” she told InStyle. “It’s a privilege to age! Even in scripts, they’ll refer to a character as ‘ageing.’ Well, everyone is ageing.”
While Moore has never advocated surgery or feeling pressured to go under the knife, many have. In 2016, Something’s Gotta Give actress Amanda Peet told Lenny about the pressures she felt to get Botox; she felt “ashamed to admit” that she cared about her looks and said she hadn’t crossed that road out of fear, while Friends alum Courteney Cox said she had “given in” and then regretted doing so. “I was trying to keep up with getting older and trying to chase that [youth], but it’s something you can’t keep up with.”
Moore added that being in the business, she had seen how it could quickly end in disaster. “In literature and in movies, when people try to stop the [ageing] process, it always ends in disaster,” she said. “I think it’s really important to be where you are.”
“The older I get, I find, the more I prepare,” she added. “I thought when I was younger that I was prepared. But, it just pales in comparison to the amount I do now. Maybe being young, you think, ‘Well, I know how to do this!’ and the older you get, the more you realise that you don’t know anything.”
Her profile comes just a few weeks after Allure announced it would ban the term “anti-ageing” from its pages because growing older should be embraced and appreciated (as we all know), not treated like something to fight off.
It’s exactly this that we want to see, read and hear more of in 2017.